Meaning of POLICY in English

pol ‧ i ‧ cy S3 W1 AC /ˈpɒləsi, ˈpɒlɪsi $ ˈpɑː-/ BrE AmE noun ( plural policies )

[ Sense 1,3: Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: policie , from Late Latin politia ; ⇨ ↑ police 1 ]

[ Sense 2: Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: French ; Origin: police 'document, certificate' , from Old Italian polizza , from Greek apodeixis 'proof' ]

1 . [uncountable and countable] a way of doing something that has been officially agreed and chosen by a political party, a business, or another organization

foreign/economic/public etc policy

a foreign policy adviser

The company has adopted a strict no-smoking policy.

policy on/towards

government policy on higher education

US policy towards China

it is (sb’s) policy to do something

It is hospital policy to screen all mothers with certain risk factors.

2 . [countable] a contract with an insurance company, or an official written statement giving all the details of such a contract:

an insurance policy

There’s a clause in the policy that I’d like to discuss.

I’ve just renewed the policy (=arranged for it to continue) .

Does the policy cover theft and fire?

You can take out a policy (=buy one) for as little as $11.00 a month.

3 . [countable] a particular principle that you believe in and that influences the way you behave

it is sb’s policy to do something

It’s always been my policy not to gossip.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)


▪ government/public/state policy

Government spending is determined by government policy.

▪ party policy

State ownership is party policy.

▪ company/hospital/university etc policy

It is not company policy to offer refunds.

▪ foreign policy

Support for human rights is a key element in our foreign policy.

▪ economic/fiscal policy

The middle classes have suffered most as a result of government economic policies.

▪ defence/energy/housing etc policy

Our energy policies must put the environment first.

▪ a deliberate policy

Some customers pursue a deliberate policy of delaying payment.

▪ a clear policy

There was no clear policy on this matter.

▪ a coherent policy (=one in which all the parts of the policy work well together)

A long-term coherent policy for industry is needed.

■ verbs

▪ formulate/develop a policy

We try to formulate policies that will meet the needs of the people.

▪ make policy (=decide what it will be)

A committee of representatives makes policy.

▪ shape policy (=develop it or have an influence on it)

These terrorist acts will not be allowed to shape our foreign policy.

▪ adopt a policy (=use one)

He adopted a policy of radical reform.

▪ implement a policy (=take action in the way that has been decided)

Local government is responsible for implementing central government policy.

▪ pursue/follow a policy (=continue with a policy over a period of time)

The organization is pursuing a policy of cost cutting.

▪ reverse a policy (=stop a policy and change it)

The new government set about reversing previous policies.

▪ a policy aims at something/to do something (=tries to achieve something)

The policy aimed to reduce the budget deficit.

■ policy + NOUN

▪ a policy decision

No policy decision can be made until the next meeting.

▪ a policy statement

There has been no policy statement on this from the French government.

▪ a policy change

There have been numerous policy changes in recent months.

▪ a policy issue

He rarely consulted him on general policy issues.

▪ a policy maker (=someone who decides on what it should be)

Policy makers have not dealt with the issue very effectively.

▪ a policy objective

How can we best achieve our policy objectives?

▪ a policy initiative (=something done to achieve a policy's goals)

The policy initiatives have focused on the inner cities.

■ phrases

▪ a change of/in policy

This decision represented a major change in policy.

▪ a shift in policy (=a small change)

The shift in policy placed more emphasis on teachers' assessments of students' progress.

▪ a reversal of policy (=a change back to what it was before)

The strength of this opposition forced a rapid reversal of policy.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ NOUN + policy

▪ an insurance policy

Is the damage covered by your insurance policy?

▪ a life policy/life insurance policy (=one that will pay out money if you die)

New homeowners must usually buy a life policy before they can get a mortgage.

▪ a contents policy British English (=one that will pay out money if things in your home are damaged or stolen)

Most basic contents policies cover accidents to mirrors.

■ verbs

▪ take out/buy a policy (=arrange it)

People with children should take out a life insurance policy.

▪ renew a policy (=buy it again, especially regularly)

The policy must be renewed every year.

▪ a policy covers something (=will pay out money in relation to it)

The policy does not cover dental bills.

▪ a policy pays out (=pays you money when you claim it)

I thought my insurance policy would pay out.

• • •


▪ plan a set of actions for achieving something in the future, especially a set of actions that has been considered carefully and in detail:

Leaders outlined a plan to end the fighting.

▪ plot/conspiracy a secret plan to do something bad or illegal, made by a group of people:

There was a plot to assassinate the President.


a terrorist conspiracy

▪ scheme British English an official plan that is intended to help people:

The government has introduced a new scheme to help young people find work.

▪ strategy a carefully designed plan which is intended to achieve a particular purpose over a long period of time:

the company’s business strategy


The government’s economic strategy has been criticized by many experts.


We need to develop effective strategies for combating the sale of counterfeit goods.

▪ initiative a new plan for dealing with a particular problem or for achieving a particular aim:

a peace initiative


a major new initiative to tackle street crime

▪ policy a plan that members of a government, political party, company etc agree on, that states how they intend to deal with a particular subject or problem:

the government’s immigration policy


It’s company policy to allow people to work from home.

▪ programme British English , program American English a series of activities that a government or organization organizes, which aims to achieve something important and will continue for a long time:

a five-year programme which will create 2000 new jobs


federal programs for low-income housing

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.